Hiccup's mom Valka: Kind-hearted individual who felt that dragons were peaceful, and wished to help them? Or a careless person who simply abandoned her family, ignoring how they were probably mourning her so she could play Jane Goodall to the dragons? Or simply too dumb to consider ways that she could go back home once in a while?
Very few are in denial that Drago is a total asshole. However, when he became one is an issue of contention. Some believe that had his early life been more normal, he'd have grown up to be a decent person. Others believe that he was just born bad.
Hiccup himself has been subject to this. Was his optimism about being able to change Drago admirable but misguided, or was he simply being too stubborn and arrogant to acknowledge the facts of the situation? This might be Fridge Brilliance in that Hiccup had previously put an end to the war between humans and dragons by teaching the former to befriend the latter, and because of this believed the hostility from his father and village towards Drago built on the same issue and could be similarly solved; using negotiation and understanding instead of hatred and fighting.
Alternative Joke Interpretation: Gobber's comment "This is why I never married. This and one other reason", can be taken as Gobber admitting he's gay, or that he's impotent. Voice actor Craig Ferguson, who is openly gay, meant it as the former, but the way it's presented makes it open to interpretation.
For fans of Hiccup and Toothless' friendship in particular, this is a heartbreaking film to watch, thanks to the scene where Toothless is mind controlled into killing Hiccup, and would have succeeded if not for his father Taking the Bullet.
The continuation where Toothless wakes up and tries to approach the dead Stoick, only to have Hiccup angrily shout for him to stay away does not help in the least. The scene altogether made some critics and movie reviewers compare the film to The Lord of the Rings level of dark.
Award Snub: Was not nominated for the Best Animated Feature BAFTA, and lost the Best Animated Feature Oscar to Big Hero 6.
Valka. Some fans love her for being a badass Action Mom, others can't overlook the fact that she abandoned her son and husband.
Drago Bludvist. Some see him as a boring character and a one note character while others think that he is an intimidating threat who serves as an excellent contrast and foil towards Hiccup.
Complete Monster: Drago Bludvist is an unfeeling madman who seeks to take over Berk. Having lost his village and family to dragons when he was younger, Drago subverts a Freudian Excuse by becoming exactly like the ones who he sought revenge against and using fear to dominate anyone in his path. Prior to the plot, Drago came to a chieftain's meeting and offered to drive away the dragons if they would kneel to him. When they declined, Drago responds by burning them alive and leaving no survivors but Stoick, Hiccup's father. In the current, Drago raises a dragon army, led by a Bewilderbeast he abused into loyalty, and attempts to execute his right-hand man for failing him, as well as the other dragon riders he brought with him. Drago enslaves the dragons living under Valka's care and kills their Alpha to assert his power. Drago even hypnotizes the loyal Toothless to fire on his own master, Hiccup, and simply scoffs when Stoick takes the blast. He then proceeds to raze Berk with his new-found army, taking no prisoners.
Contested Sequel: Fans and critics can't seem to agree whether this film or the first is superior. On one hand, those who prefer the first film argue that it has more charm, and reliance on Show, Don't Tell moments, while supporters of this film prefer it for being Darker and Edgier, having a more mature and realistic story with more action sequences. A third group values the films equally for their different strengths.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Some people are just so evil or crazy or rotten to the core that they cannot ever be negotiated or reasoned with, so fighting is the only option. This is an especially hard pill to swallow if you are a pacifist who thinks violence only generates more violence.
Every scene with Stoick and Valka, being that they only get to see each other again for about a couple hours at most.
Stoick: I thought I'd have to die before we'd have that dance again.
Valka: No need for drastic measures.
From a meta-standpoint, there is also some harshness to the short time between their reunion and Stoick's death. The film establishes that Hiccup was less than a year old when Valka disappeared, meaning that Stoick found Valka about twenty years after losing her. In the film's runtime, Stoick's death scene occurs about twenty minutes after this scene, and Valka loses Stoick forever.
When did the film come out in the United States? Father's Day weekend.
Remember in the first film when Toothless tackled and was about to blast Stoick, only to be stopped by Hiccup? Yeah...
A subtle one, but when a mind controlled Toothless is menacingly walking towards a confused and scared Hiccup, the music in the background is a remake of the one played during their first meeting. This time however, Toothless doesn't back out from his blast...
Hiccup having taught his dad against all odds that dragons are kind creatures in the first movie, only for Stoick to end up killed by a dragon after all. And not just any dragon, but Toothless.
Also, Gobber's statement to Stoick when he's suggesting enlisting Hiccup in dragon training "You're not always going to be there to protect him" comes off much harsher in light of what happens to Stoick.
Stoick's boast to Drago of, "It takes more than a little fire to kill me!" Um, about that...
Race to the Edge later revealed that Hiccup has been warned before about his Wide-Eyed Idealist beliefs. The events that transpire because he refused to accept that talking with Drago just wouldn't work prove his former Arch-Enemy was 100% correct.
Viggo: You are too good, too pure, too innocent, which will get you or someone you love killed.
Also, author Cressida Cowell said that Hiccup's relationship with Stoick was based off hers with her father, Michael John Hare, 2nd Viscount of Blakenham. Stoick's death in 2014 becomes even harsher with the Viscount's death in January 2018 since he was the inspiration.
Moral Event Horizon: Drago crosses it at the part where he has his enslaved dragons kill all the chiefs who refused to go along with him, which is what convinces Stoick that he can't be reasoned with. And that's his introduction!
Drago's way of controlling dragons, which seems to consist of "Screaming insanely while waving a stick in the air." Yes, he had help from the Bewilderbeast, but it comes across as more than a little silly.
Becomes doubly silly if you've read the original books, because, until Hiccup came along, the viking's dragon training guide consisted of one rule: Scream at them.
Which then dives straight into nightmare fuel since his style of 'taming' is based on elephant taming in the real world.
Regardless, Drago's screams sound nearly identical to Captain Kirk's cry of "KHAAAAAAN!"
The villain of a dragon film being named Drago can fall into this. How... inventive? Not helped that his name is literally "Blood Fist." The name of "Drago Bludvist" can come across as either intimidating, or fall into "You're trying too hard."
Nightmare Retardant: Some viewers find a lot about Drago to be narmy either thanks to his voice (which sounds like Animal from The Muppet Show) and/or his screaming and flailing when commanding the dragons. Also, the sight of him riding Toothless is considered either a heartbreaking sight, seeing the little dragon being dominated and ridden by such a huge man, or hilarious looking because the two nearly equal each other in size.
As explained under Family-Unfriendly Aesop some people, unfortunately, just can't be reasoned with to gain peace. That doesn't mean that some of those same people can never change given time, evidence, and reason, however.
While the secondary Aesop described above is fairly dark, the main Aesop— that wise, compassionate rule by earned loyalty is stronger than forceful, abusive domination— is unsubtle but no less necessary.
As this review points out, Valka starts off as a well-developed character who, unfortunately, has her own personal character arc pushed to the background in the third in favor of Hiccup's own. This may or may not have been the result of major script changes that had Valka as the primary antagonist, originally. A rebuttal editorial argues that the movie does in fact revolve around her actions, in the sense that none of the characters would be where they are if it weren't for her.
Many fans of the franchise were disappointed that Astrid got almost Demoted to Extra, especially considering her expanded role in the TV show.
Though pretty much everyone who wasn't part of Hiccup's family got this treatment as well; those who follow the series know how those characters are rich in story possibilities and comedic potential weren't all that happy at their treatment as well.
Drago could have been more fleshed out. His backstory of having his town, family, and arm destroyed in a dragon attack when he was a boy and then growing obsessed with both a need for revenge and eventually a hunger for power is a fairly interesting one, but it only gets a brief scene so that we can know why he can't be reasoned with. The creators themselves seem to be aware of this and have stated that Dragos character is actually a lot more complex than he is portrayed and that he will be fleshed out more in the following film.
The good Alpha had little screen time; it therefore had few opportunities to display its personality before it died.
What an Idiot!: Hiccup here is in stark contrast to his intelligence demonstrated in the first film. He repeatedly ignores warnings from his father and mother, that Drago is a war-mongering madman who cannot be reasoned with. This doesn't dissuade the dragon rider, and his recklessness ends up costing Stoick his life.
The television show attempts to explain this by showing that Hiccup managed to redeem and/or talk down nearly every single villain of the show (Alvin, Dagur, Mala, and Viggo respectively), despite many of them seeming well past the point of any redemption. With that level of success, of course he'd think trying his hand with Drago would be a viable option.
Gruff, one of the dragons rescued by Valka. Blinded by trappers, he's nonetheless a sweet and perfectly friendly dragon. We only see him briefly but it's hard not to feel something for him.
For that matter, all the dragons that were injured by trappers.
Hiccup and Toothless themselves after Drago mind-controls Toothless into killing Stoick and rips the formerly inseparable pair apart. Although they reunite, Hiccup still ends up fatherless and Toothless has to live with the guilt of what he did. And this is on topof theirtraumasfrom thefirst film.